Melbourne to establish two new waste and resource recovery hubs

The City of Melbourne will invest $1 million to establish two new waste and resource recovery hubs in the CBD to help businesses reduce waste and limit the number of bins in city laneways.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the 2020-2021 draft Annual Plan and Budget includes $24 million for residential and commercial waste services, with additional funding to be invested in the new commercial waste and recycling hubs.

“The hubs will allow us to remove 110 commercial bins from city laneways. By increasing waste and recycling options for businesses, we can cut 7000 waste collection truck trips from the city each year,” she said.

“We know there are around 1000 individual bins stored on public property across the central city. Bins in laneways take up space and can cause odour, visual pollution and attract vermin.

“By creating more resource recovery hubs we can reduce noise, smell, congestion and mess.”

City of Melbourne Environment portfolio chair Cathy Oke said 51 new recycling bins will be installed on city streets this month, with solar-powered sensors to alert waste collectors when the bins need to be emptied.

“Solar powered compactor bins have already helped us cut the number of rubbish truck collections down from 90,000 a month, to just 12,000 a month,” she said.

“Like the solar rubbish bins, solar recycling bins will use gentle compaction to increase capacity to about six times that of a regular recycling bin, which means they don’t need to be emptied as often.

“This helps reduce the number of trucks on our roads, which is great for city amenity and helps to reduce our carbon footprint.”

The new recycling bins will complement the city’s 396 solar compactor rubbish bins which were installed in 2018, and are in addition to the city’s 232 existing public recycling bins.

According to Oke, the new waste and resource recovery hubs and solar recycling bins are part of council’s commitment to investigate new opportunities to manage litter and stimulate circular economy solutions for waste.

“We’re also continuing to support businesses and community groups to reduce waste through $200,000 in grants through the Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund,” she said.

“We’ve faced enormous challenges this year, with devastating bushfires followed by COVID-19, and it’s important that we continue to take climate action while responding to these events.”

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Melbourne opens recycling hub EOI’s

The City of Melbourne is seeking innovative technological solutions to expand its network of rubbish and recycling hubs throughout the central city.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said expanding the hub network would streamline collection services and improve public amenity.

“We know there are around 1000 individual bins stored on public property across the central city. Bins in laneways take up space and can cause odour, visual pollution and attract vermin,” Ms Capp said.

“Over the long-term, businesses would be encouraged to use the communal network of resource recovery hubs instead of using on-street bins. As the network expands over time, the number of on-street private waste bins will be reduced.”

Ms Capp said council is asking companies to submit proposals for specialised waste and recycling collection services.

“We will consider everything from mini-compactor bins to specialised vehicles and collection of source separated materials such as glass, organics, paper and cardboard,” Ms Capp said.

“We could tailor our network of hubs to the profile of key precincts around the city. For example, we could deliver more food waste and plastic recycling hubs in our hospitality precincts.”

Ms Capp said council was looking at densely populated international cities such as Milan, which has one of the highest recycling rates in Europe.

“We want to expand our network of waste and recycling hubs to transform the way waste and recycling is collected in the central city,” Ms Capp said.

“Rather than have multiple trucks circling the city, we want to create more communal hubs so businesses can take their items to a local collection point.”

Ms Capp said since 2013, the City of Melbourne has removed more than 500 bins off the streets by providing access to communal garbage compactors and recycling hubs.

Environment Portfolio Chair Cathy Oke said residents and businesses have a critical role to play in helping to reduce waste and find local solutions to the state’s recycling crisis.

“Unfortunately, tonnes of recycling is being sent to landfill, so the most important thing people can do right now is to try to avoid creating waste,” Ms Oke said.

“The City of Melbourne understands this is a state-wide issue and we will continue to examine potential short and long-term solutions such as new technologies.”

Ms Oke said council is also asking residents and businesses to adjust their behaviour to achieve long-term change.

“This means changing the products we buy to ones that have less packaging or things that can be re-used in our homes or workplaces,” Ms Oke said.

“Food waste is an area that almost anyone can cut down on by starting to compost or simply using leftovers to make a new meal instead of throwing them out.”

The City of Melbourne is specifically looking for solutions that include:

— Wi-Fi or radio frequency identification technology that can charge users for the amount of waste calculated / disposed.

— Smart, card, tap technology which can bill users via a pay-as-you-throw waste management system.

— Smart sensors and bin weights to monitor bin levels.

— GPS tracking to help truck drivers know when a bin needs emptying.

— Ability to compact a variety of waste streams for easier storage and collection.

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Melbourne backs CDS plan

The City of Melbourne has joined other Victorian councils in calling for the state government to introduce container deposit legislation into parliament.

The campaign was started by the Municipal Association of Victoria, with backing from the City of Frankston, City of Darebin and City of Port Phillip.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said a container deposit scheme (CDS) would help reduce plastic and glass sent to landfill.

“The recycling system is broken and we need to harness community and industry support to fix it,” Ms Capp said.

“We need to reward individuals and community groups who are doing the right thing when it comes to recycling. It’s time to provide an incentive for people who collect bottles and cans and give back to the community.”

Melbourne Environment Chair Cathy Oke said Victoria and Tasmania are the only Australian states yet to commit to a scheme.

The Tasmanian Government announced it would implement a CDS by 2023 in June, but legislation is yet to be enacted.

“South Australian first introduced their scheme in 1977, leading the nation on waste management. They currently offer a 10 cent deposit and refund on beverage containers,” Ms Oke said.

“Introducing a similar scheme in Victoria would help reduce litter while providing a commodity that could be used by our local industry.”

Ms Oke said the scheme could include manually operated or automated reverse vending machines, that would give credit for each item deposited.

“Victorians are looking for answers to the waste crisis, so it’s time we helped people do their bit to help create a stronger recycling sector,” Ms Oke said.

“Along with reducing litter, the scheme would ensure the beverage supplier industry takes greater responsibility for packaging, and rewards individuals, community groups, sporting clubs and charities for picking up littered beverage containers.”

Following SKM’s decision to no longer accept recyclable materials, the City of Melbourne has been forced to send 45 tonnes of recycling to landfill each day.

Ms Oke said SKM sorts 50 per cent of Victoria’s kerbside recycling – close to 300,000 tonnes a year.

“More than $500 million of landfill levy income collected by Victorian Councils is available in the state government’s Sustainability Fund and could be invested to increase capacity in the local recycling sector,” Ms Oke said.

“We need the state government to unlock the funds councils have collected from landfill levies and invest in new technologies to transform our waste and resource recovery sector.”

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